Pick a theme for your Family Tree Painting to tell your family story

So you’ve placed your order for a custom family tree painting, emailed me your family photos, wrote accompanying descriptions of your family members, and now you’re wondering just how all of this is going to come together to make sense as a painting.

The easiest way to make your family tree look ‘unified’ is to pick a theme for the painting!  Try to think of your family tree as a theme party with lots of details (decorative pieces) all coming together to represent an overall theme.  Here are some ideas to make it easier for you to figure out which theme to pick for your family:

Is there are something you’re passionate about as a family?

Do you share a common passion as a family?  For example, are all of you sports fans?  If you are – great!  Love of sports is a great theme to use, (as in the example of the Auburn University sports fans family tree below).  Your favorite team’s colors could be used for the main color scheme for your custom family tree painting.  Alternatively, every person could be wearing an article of clothing related to the team.  It doesn’t mean that in the painting your identity as a sports fan will overshadow who you are as a person.  As you can see, in the “Auburn” family tree painting every family member is still represented as an individual with his/her unique personality.

The family’s love for their favorite college sports is something that unifies the family in real life, and that’s why it was picked to serve as a unifying theme for the artwork.  However, by no means does your family have to like the same team or even the same sport to have ‘sports’ as a theme that ties the painting together. Each family member could be depicted wearing his/her favorite team’s attire, and it will still give the painting a unified feel.

Custom family tree painted for a family of Auburn University college sports fans.

Is there are an activity your whole family enjoys?

Is there something that all of you like to do as a family?  Perhaps you enjoy getting together for cookouts.  That could become an underlying theme for your custom family tree painting.  Think summer, BBQ, picnic tables, fun outdoor games, etc.  Does everyone in your family enjoy crocheting (just an example) or do you love juggling in your spare time?  Is reading a common hobby among all your family members?  Then books could be the theme for your family tree.
In the family tree example below the family decided to choose sailing as the theme for the painting.  It wasn’t just an activity that they all have enjoyed for years, but also something that everyone in the family associated with quality time spend together and fun memories.

Family tree painting in a shape of a sailboat for a couple's 50th marriage anniversary

Make your heritage the main theme of your custom family tree painting

If your heritage plays a significant role in your family, honoring your roots could be a great theme for your custom family tree painting.  If you have Irish roots (for example) the leaves on your tree could be white, green, and orange or everyone in the painting could be dressed in these colors.  Another creative family tree theme idea is to celebrate the cultural diversity of your family, as in the family tree painting below.  The two girls are in the center of the painting surrounded by their parents and grandparents.  To bring emphasis to the children’s diverse cultural heritage the flags of the countries their parents are from were incorporated into the paintings (American and Pakistani).  A heart made of tree branches serves as a focal point of the family tree painting to symbolize the love the family shares for one another.

Custom Family Tree painting celebrating family's diversity

If all else fails:

If you’re still not sure what you could pick as a theme for your family tree you could always use free-association writing technique to help you out. Just take a pen and write the following: “My family is…”  Then write whichever words come to mind.  The more the marrier.  This should give you some ideas, and if you still can’t come up with anything you like please feel free to email me the list.  There is a good chance I might be able to come up with an idea or two for your family tree theme.